We talk a lot about great customer service. Well, this was a sight that would warm any retailer’s heart: the Megastore at the Olympic Park.

We talk a lot about great customer service. Well, this was a sight that would warm any retailer’s heart: the Megastore at the Olympic Park.

There, I saw amazingly good humour from the team managing the huge queue to get in, and an even better experience inside. There were lots of staff who couldn’t have been more willing to search out that small white T-shirt with a particular variation on the logo, or anything else you wanted. I just sensed people determined to serve selflessly and give a positive impression of the store.

And a high proportion of customers were clearly overseas visitors. What a fantastic impression they will have taken away of the UK and of UK retailing.

That’s a really strong sign of what our retailers can do for markets around the world, when they’re given the chance.

During the Olympic fortnight, the Government staged a series of summits aimed at promoting British business abroad. I spoke at the Prime Minister’s Best of British retail event, where he promised that, during September, he would announce a significant Government initiative to support UK retailers as they look to expand internationally.

David Cameron is right to recognise how much this matters because, as I saw in Stratford, the UK is genuinely world class at retailing, which means our sector holds huge potential for contributing to the health of the wider economy.

Growth in European markets is at best slow – in some it’s non-existent. The strongest prospects are in Asia and Latin America.

So what I want is a real commitment to getting all arms of Government working together to help UK retailers break into the thriving overseas markets that they can’t enter fully at the moment.

That means co-ordinated help from the Government to open the doors of the relevant ministries in those countries, so that our members get the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that our retail experience and investment can bring.

And that goes well beyond the obvious gains on price, choice or service. For example, India has a chronic food waste problem. Up to a third of the produce that could be used doesn’t make it to consumers. British money and British know-how in warehousing, chill-chain management and transport techniques would produce some big improvements in this area if we were allowed to invest there.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) does good, practical work to help individual companies set up in specific countries for the first time. But that’s not the same as political action that gets regulatory barriers removed.

So I hope this month’s announcement from Cameron produces meaningful moves to join up the trade promotion activities of UKTI with the market-access activities of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the diplomatic work of the Foreign Office.

It’s the 2012 legacy I’d like to see, because it’s where some real prizes lie.

  • Stephen Robertson, director-general, BRC